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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Well, I would agree that those three songs are among the band's biggest jam launchers -- that seems obvious enough. Of course even then you'd need to consider the era.

But you said "best material."

"All of the GD's "best" material is characterized by incredibly brief and simple arrangements of the sung portion."

That's quite a different thing from "best songs for launching extended free-form jamming."

And even so, Playin in the Band is hardly a simple arrangement. Simpler than some, but 10/4 time with all those herky-jerky changes is not what I'd call simple. Of course, it led to some great open-ended jamming, but that's another matter.

As for their best "material," Let it Grow and Terrapin would appear on most people's lists (though Terrapin would probably spark some debate) and again, these are not simple arrangements.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 3, 2011 8:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

Did you read LIA's post and my response? I already explained that I was using the word "best" to refer to the most important jam songs, because that is the most important part of what the Grateful Dead did, the large open-ended jams in 68-74, with those three songs in particular being at the heart of most of the best jams.

I completely agree that the best-composed songs as freestanding songs were different material, like Terrapin Station. I was trying to highlight the contrast in approach between something like Terrapin and a song like The Other One, to point out the tension between what works best for improvisation versus more elaborately composed material.

The fact that Playin is an unusual time signature, and explores different ways of subdividing a ten-beat cycle doesn't mean the arrangement of the song itself is complex - it's just 3 verse+choruses with an instrumental bridge, and it is very short, the singing part is always over in less than 3 minutes. Playin is definitely the most complexly arranged of the big jamming tunes though, especially if you look at the original arrangement with guaranteed reprise.

The fact that the Playin reprise became detached, and eventually often dispensed with entirely, is something that demonstrates the point I'm trying to make - similarly with Truckin, and how it shed its reprise. The more repetitions and elaborations and contrasting sections you have within a song, the harder it is to really open the song up, for time reasons if nothing else.

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Poster: lobster12 Date: Aug 4, 2011 7:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: What Do You Like About The 80's ?

I'd also throw Bird Song in that group